NYC Day Trips: The Big Three Must See

By on July 8, 2014
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Don't be a dum-dum: See the Rapa Nui Moai at the American Museum of Natural History. (Photo via Bing.com; Creative Commons license.)

Don’t be a dum-dum: See the Rapa Nui Moai Cast at the American Museum of Natural History. (Photo via Bing.com; Creative Commons license.)

Eyes will pop instead of roll with a few of these exciting Manhattan adventures. Now that summer keeps homework at bay and the sports season has slowed, there’s more time for day trips to New York City, especially these three big museums: the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum Of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Take a peek and even download the educational guides that are accessible, educational and a fun way to sneak in some intellectual challenge before school begins. There are many ways to instill a love of learning and fulfill your family’s personal quest. Here are a few quick ideas for families to take New York City by storm:

American Museum of Natural History

If the family is into light-hearted fun, is deep as the ocean, or veers on the extreme edge of our universe, AMNH amazes.

First of all, don’t call him “Dum-Dum” (like the lollipops) or “Gum-Gum”. Poor guy gets that a lot. The exhibit’s name is actually the Rapa Nui Moai Cast and it hails from what we know as Easter Island, which is what the first European explorers called the land of the Moai when they happened upon it on Easter of 1722. Rapa Nui is the native name and translates as “huge island.” This cast of a carved basalt (an igneous rock formed in lava that also exists in the bedrock of the ocean) figure gained even more notoriety after Hollywood got a grip on it. For added fun, watch Night At The Museum before your day trip and then see the exhibits that inspired its cast of characters. If you’ve got an iPhone, download the free “Night at the Museum Tour” app.

"Great White Shark" is playing in 3D at the American Museum of Natural History. (Photo copyright AMNH.)

“Great White Shark” is playing in 3D at the American Museum of Natural History. (Photo copyright AMNH.)

What is this?

Need Space? If spacing out is a goal, try the “Earth and Space Tour“. There’s something humbling about walking among the planets in the “Scales of the Universe” exhibit. If the last solar system model you visited was a styrofoam one, this will awaken the cadet with a big bang. Launch into the history of 13 billion years and be sure to visit the Willamette Meteorite and the moon rocks brought back by the Apollo mission astronauts. The Hayden Planetarium space show Dark Universe is available for an additional fee.

A girl can certainly look up to Margaret Mead—and the rest of us do, too. After exploring humanity and other featured creatures, stomp among the dinosaurs and discover they’ve made a few new friends at AMNH, ones that might add to the price of your ticket: Catch “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs” (through Jan 4, 2015), “Spiders Alive” (features live spiders and more, through November 2, 2014) and Great White Shark (in IMAX, both 3D and 2D through January 4, 2015).

It's not called a wolf spider for nothing: This hunter uses its sharp vision and ability to sense vibrations—like those from beating insect wings. (©AMNH/R. Mickens)

It’s not called a wolf spider for nothing: This hunter uses its sharp vision and ability to sense vibrations—like those from beating insect wings.
(©AMNH/R. Mickens)

General admission is $22 for adults and $12.50 for children ages 2-12. See the museum’s Plan Your Visit page for admission packages and special exhibitions ticketing fees or call 212-769-5100. For more information and spectacular photographs, search the AMNH apps to shed more light on favorite subjects. Worry about the lay of the land in the museum? The free AMNH Explorer is a great iPhone/iPod app to prevent getting lost in time and space. It offers turn-by-turn directions based on where you are in the museum and links to all the AMNH tours.

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One Comment

  1. Cameron Barrett

    July 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    The AMNH general admission prices are “suggested prices”. It’s basically pay what you can afford. If you have 4 kids and can’t afford to drop $100, then opt to pay whatever you can. I usually pay $5 per person.

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